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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 52560
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 48 years of experience.
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My parrot is sick for about 2 hours non stop, he was fine

Customer Question

My parrot is sick for about 2 hours non stop
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Can you tell me a little more about the parrot's situation?
Customer: he was fine this morning but when I got home he has been sick every since very quite and just in cage looks very tired being sick and can’t keep food down
JA: Does the vomit look liquidy or foamy? Is there food in it?
Customer: Yes there’s food in it believe it to be chestnuts but very liquidy also, he was drinking water but after a minute or so would be sick again all the water would come back out
JA: Could he have eaten anything unusual?
Customer: no
JA: And what's the parrot's name and age?
Customer: ruan and 8 months old
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: don’t think so
Submitted: 24 days ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 24 days ago.

Dr. Michael Salkin is typing. Please be patient.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 24 days ago.

I'm sorry to hear about this with Ruan. We need to determine if he's regurgitating or, instead, vomiting.

A bird that bobs its head up and down in a sort of pumping motion, beak open and then a purposeful delivery of partially digested food is regurgitating. This is something they would do to feed offspring or a mate. It’s done by some birds to objects (toys, mirrors, people) they are particularly fond of - especially if they’re in a breeding season, when a bird wants to please their owner and/or is of a nervous temperament. Regurgitation that is unusual enough for you to make note of it like you have, might be a symptom of crop infection/impaction/”sour crop”.

Vomiting is more of a head “flicking” event. The bird will often seem uneasy, pacing or uncomfortable and although the head bobbing might be similar to the regurgitation action, it’s usually more of a shaking and the end result is a very splattered, sticky substance that may or may not include food. When there’s blood showing in the vomitus it may indicate esophageal or proventricular ulcers.

An avian vet (please see here: theparrotsocietyuk.org/veterinaryadvice/avian-vets) will take a look into your bird’s mouth as part of a thorough physical examination and is likely to examine a swab of the oral cavity for abnormal numbers of either bacteria, yeast, or parasites. A good exam will also check for changes in the mucous membranes as seen with hypovitaminosis A (a lack of vitamin A in the diet) ulcers, and tumors.

Vomiting is a more serious symptom and seeing a vet as soon as possible is important. Gram-negative bacterial infections are commonly found and often caused by poor sanitation while food handling but there are far too many possible diseases to list here and as in any case of illness, getting it evaluated, diagnosed and treated promptly is best. I would be more comfortable knowing that Ruan was examined by an avian vet.

If Ruan won't drink and eat on his own please consider sweet potato, carrot, or squash baby food on a spoon tapped and dabbed on the underside of his upper beak. Show him where the rest of the baby food can be found. Please heat up his environment to 29.4C so Ruan need not expend excess energy keeping his body temperature up.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has Ruan's diet consisted of, please? Seeds should comprise less than 20% of his diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com or here: www.lafeber.com/pet-birds should be fed as well as hard-boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese - yes these low lactose foods are safe, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
File attached (MQPPG2L)
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 24 days ago.

The excellent video reveals vomiting and perhaps most important, the "sick eye" look and posture of an ill bird. It's important to recognize that once a bird acts ill, it's quite ill. This is a protective mechanism because birds hide their illnesses until they're no longer able to. This avoids being attacked by other birds or prey animals. Do you best to have an avian vet attend to Ruan at your earliest convenience.

Please continue in this conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
File attached (ZMGM76M)
Customer: replied 24 days ago.
He is so much better now out of no where he is now eating loads stopped being sick and playing having water... just out of the blue
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 24 days ago.

Night and day! I never argue with success. Please continue to monitor Ruan. Perhaps a partial gastrointestinal obstruction dislodged. Thank you for the excellent follow-up video.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Thank you I’m going to wait until tomorrow to see if he gets worse again, if so I’m booking him into the vets
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 24 days ago.

That's prudent. I can't set a follow up in this venue and so please return to our conversation with an update at your convenience.

Customer: replied 23 days ago.
Ruan is back to full normality eating and playing
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 23 days ago.

Thank you for the good update. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know.